The U.S Department of Justice and a few other government agencies have seized Bitcoin (BTC) worth more than $20 million in a crackdown involving vendors from the dark web.
The agencies involved in the crackdown managed to recover about 2,000 Bitcoins and a few other cryptocurrencies from vendors selling illegal goods including drugs and weapons that were being traded in the dark web. The successful operation involved the cooperation of agents from the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the U.S Secret Service and the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to reports, the agents not only managed to seize the cryptocurrencies but also uncovered gold bars and U.S currency worth $3.2 million. They also seized narcotics and weapons and cryptocurrency mining devices. Rod J. Rosenstein, The Deputy Attorney General released a statement about the successful crackdown and he warned vendors selling illegal content on the dark web that they should not feel safe hiding in the dark web.
?Criminals who think that they are safe on the Darknet are wrong. We can expose their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice. Today, we arrested more than 35 alleged Darknet vendors. We seized their weapons, their drugs, and $23.6 million of their ill-gotten gains,? stated Rosenstein.
What the crackdown means for the darknet
Rosenstein also believes that the crackdowns which are being carried out on a nationwide-scale will help reduce and discourage the supply of drugs such as fentanyl. The latter is one of the most dangerous drugs and to put that into perspective, an amount the size of a grain of sand can kill an adult human being. The authorities seized 100 grams of the drug in the recent crackdown.
The recent crackdown adds to the instances in which authorities have seized cryptocurrencies in the past that had been used in illegal dealings. U.S government authorities previously auctioned 80,000 Bitcoins seized from the Silk Road darknet which is no longer operational. The government agents involved in the recent crackdown masqueraded as money launderers by logging onto the darknet.